links for 2009-03-12

  • "The Public Press exists to publish materials that are too specialized or too controversial to interest conventional publishers. While more and more new titles are published each year — more than 200,000 in 2004! — some of the more worthy stories, ideas, theories, and opinions languish due to lack of commercial* appeal."
  • "Media Cloud is a system that lets you see the flow of the media. The Internet is fundamentally altering the way that news is produced and distributed, but there are few comprehensive approaches to understanding the nature of these changes. Media Cloud automatically builds an archive of news stories and blog posts from the web, applies language processing, and gives you ways to analyze and visualize the data. The system is still in early development, but we invite you to explore our current data and suggest research ideas. This is an open-source project, and we will be releasing all of the code soon."
  • Media Cloud is a massive data set of news — compiled from newspapers, other established news organizations, and blogs — and a set of tools for analyzing those data. Some of the kinds of questions Media Cloud could eventually help answer:

    — How do specific stories evolve over time? What path do they take when they travel among blogs, newspapers, cable TV, or other sources?
    — What specific story topics won’t you hear about in [News Source X], at least compared to its competitors?
    — When [News Source Y] writes about Sarah Palin [or Pakistan, or school vouchers], what’s the context of their discussion? What are the words and phrases they surround that topic with?

    As Berkman Fellow Ethan Zuckerman put it, it’s an attempt to move media criticism and media analysis beyond the realm of the anecdote — to gather concrete data to back or contradict our suspicions.

  • "Social media gives any business an interactive channel to communicate with its current and future customers. For newspapers, that channel can increase the chances of survival in a market where commoditized information has diminished the value of individual brands. Here are ten ways newspapers are using social media to save the industry."
  • "News outlets across the country are cutting staff, sections, and print editions, but science and environment blogs continue to multiply, even among “old media.”

    "Three that have sprung up in recent months are, in particular, worth pointing out for their efforts to expand the bounds of what a “Web log” is and what it can do. The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware has launched AllGreenToMe, an interactive blog that mixes database citizen reporting and print-edition science news stories. The Christian Science Monitor’s third science blog, Discoveries, acts as an extension of its print coverage, featuring full-length reported articles. Last but not least, the National Journal invited dozens of politicians, energy company CEOs, and environmental group leaders to join an online discussion of contentious topics in Washington, D.C. for their Experts Blog."

  • "When asked about possible future features for Twitter, he reportedly said that one of the things being considered is an extension that lets people know what’s happening in their immediate vicinity. That would basically mean that Twitter could actively ping users about local events that are going on in their neighborhood, in real-time, based on the location they’ve indicated. As an example, Williams says users could be alerted to the fact a fire is burning a few streets away from where Twitter knows (or thinks) they are."
  • "Literacy is like heroin – it’s habit-forming. The more people try out the habit, the more likely they are to retain it. Exposure to books breeds consumption of books, which is good, because the act of reading requires deliberate commitment. This is important to keep in mind, particularly for those who wish to arrest the publishing industry’s current implosion before it becomes more like the razing of Carthage than the decline of the British Empire."
  • "If there were ever a time that called for unconventional thinking, it would be now. So, it may seem particularly prescient that a founder of what may be the fastest growing company in the nation was invited to the White House. William’s company Twitter is poised to play a growing role in igniting an economic recovery – once it unveils its revenue model. The millions of business users flocking to his social media network suggest it has the potential."
  • "It's the best marketing tool I've come across in my career. When coupled with the right tools and sites, it's the most cost effective marketing that exists today. I just hope that most companies don’t catch on to this too fast."
  • "How do journalists learn about SEO? Many of them will Google the term to find out what it's all about and how it will impact on their writing skills. When looking at the kind of advice there is for journalists online, it seems clear that many commentators from the journalistic side of the fence misconstrue what SEO is about, while SEOs themselves seem to be clueless about what journalists actually do, and about what writing responsibilities they have."
  • A collection of tools to gather data about and add context to Twitter — how you use it, how others use it. I'm so intrigued by the ecosystem of third-party tools that has grown around Twitter.

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